If you are looking for thrills, chills and a regularly risking your life, you need not go skydiving or careening down Niagara Falls in a barrel.
You can just bicycle around Tucson.
Yes, Tucson offers some of the finest weather, landscapes and miles of bike paths to enjoy. But it also offers some of the most oblivious motorists who often don’t seem to give a hoot about bicyclists.
Not all bicyclists are safe riders, either. I’ve seen them dart across traffic, hog car lanes and cruise through stop signs and lights with a sense of entitlement that makes kings and queens look meek.
My Day of the Dead blog noted two bicycle fatalities in the past few months, one in the Tucson police’s and the other in Pima County sheriff’s jurisdiction.
Alexander Nunez, 49, was killed July 2 after he was hit by a van on East 22nd Street near South Sixth Avenue, police reported.
Nunez was riding north across 22nd Street, just east of South Sixth Avenue, when he rode into the path of an oncoming van, according to witnesses and roadway evidence, Officer Linda Galindo said.
Jerome David Featherman, 84, was killed Sept. 3 after his bicycle was struck by a sedan that drove into the bike lane along Desert Bell Drive in Green Valley, according to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
Featherman, who was wearing both a helmet and reflective vest, was hit from behind by a southbound sedan driven by David Armstrong, 76.
Featherman died after being taken to the hospital.
Other Tucson police statistics report two fatal bicycle versus car incidents this year, one with a motorist who left the scene; 150 bicycle traffic injuries, 46 with motorists who left the scene; 47 bicycle property damage incidents and 26 “other” bicycle accidents.
Maybe the “other” are bicyclists who rode into garbage cans or shopping carts left all over town.
Since police statistics lag about a month behind, putting us in early August, we can do some math and deduct that approximately 21 bicyclists are injured each month.
And those are just police statistics.
I am in no way trying to discourage bicycling in Tucson. But I am also in no way soon going to pump up the tires of my own bicycle that’s been sitting largely unused since I moved to town nearly three years ago.
I felt safer biking through the clogged and manic streets of New York City, which I did often, than I did once biking one mile in Tucson to the nearby Blockbuster.
UA Bicycle Safety and Education Campaign
The University of Arizona is a hotspot for bicyclists, with more than 10,000 bicyclists on the UA campus any given weekday, according to UAPD spokesman Sgt. Juan Alvarez.
The UAPD and campus Parking and Transportation Services have teamed up to promote the Bicycle Safety and Education Campaign. The campaign’s goal is to educate folks on bicycle traffic laws and give you some tips on keeping your bike safe against thieves.
The campaign kicks off this week, with the UAPD and Parking and Transportation personnel stationed at the following locations:
Wednesday, Sept. 16 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (University/Cherry)
Tuesday, Sept. 22 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (University/Cherry)
Wednesday, Sept. 23 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Highland/Fourth)
Thursday, Oct. 1 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Olive/Second)
Campaign includes free bicycle registration at the sites and U-Locks for sale for $15, cash or check only, please.
What do you think?
Do you ever bicycle around town? Does it seem safe and friendly?
Have you ever had a bicycle crash, smash-up or been hit by a car?
Have you ever hit a bicyclist while driving your car?
Are you one of those 46 meanies who left the scene? If so, please leave your name, address and phone number in comments below.